'XP Mode' Ready by Windows 7 Consumer Rollout
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Microsoft said Thursday it has signed off on Windows 7's add-on capability to provide Windows XP application compatibility and the code will be ready for download when Windows 7 ships later this month.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced the news in a post on the Windows 7 Team Blog Thursday.
"We expect to make the final release of Windows XP Mode available via the Microsoft Download Center on October 22nd. OEMs will be able to offer Windows XP Mode on their PCs based on their manufacturing schedules," Brandon LeBlanc, a Microsoft spokesperson, said in the post.
The Windows 7 add-on provides a virtualized environment to run Windows XP applications that won't run directly on Windows 7 itself.
In an earlier blog post back in August, LeBlanc explained that XPM was designed to help ease the migration process to Windows 7 for small and medium-sized businesses by providing additional compatibility for their older productivity applications.
However, given Windows 7's native ability to run most XP applications, Microsoft recommends that users try that first.
"We expect many Windows XP applications to be compatible with Windows 7, however, Windows XP Mode is meant to serve as an added safety net so small and mid-sized businesses can migrate and run Windows 7 without any road blocks," LeBlanc's Thursday post said.
XPM provides a Virtual PC-based virtual environment as well as a fully-licensed copy of Windows XP with Service Pack 3, the Windows IT SuperSite blog said in April when word of the technology first leaked.
The add-on is yet another way that Microsoft is trying to lure XP users to switch to Windows 7. A survey revealed in April by ChangeWave Research found, for instance, that 53 percent of IT buyers planned to move directly from XP -- still, by far, the most popular version of Windows -- to Windows 7.
The add-on works with Windows 7 Professional, as well as with Ultimate and Enterprise editions.
XP Mode reached "release candidate" status -- the final testing phase before RTM -- in early August.